Just when Cablevision thought it was free and clear to stream content to iPads within the home, Viacom has taken some of the wings out of the proposition by slapping the cableco with a lawsuit while at the same time declaring a truce with Time Warner Cable.
TWC had been languishing under black sheep status with its own iPad app, but found itself in a legal hiatus with the media company, as the MTV Networks owner has decided to come back to the negotiating table.
TWC and Viacom traded lawsuits in April over the content rights legality of the MSO's iPad application for live and on-demand TV, which uses the in-home broadband Internet stream content to the tablet. As such, Viacom argued that it should be seen as an Internet, OTT service, requiring its own set of carriage fees and agreements above and beyond the traditional broadcast agreement. It was not the only media company to claim so when it came to the TWC app, either; Discovery and FOX have also been doubtful of the app. TWC in fact deleted channels from both companies shortly after launch.
After weeks of back and forth between Viacom and TWC, the Wall Street Journal now reports that the two companies have suspended their legal battle and are instead entering talks to hammer out a deal to bring Viacom channels, like Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, VH-1 and MTV, back to the app.
Cablevision, meanwhile, has encountered much less friction from content owners over its recently launched iPad app, thanks to a technical differentiator; it streams comtent to the app by leveraging the in-home set-top-box, classifying it as a broadcast service-- the iPad is simply another television screen in that case, the MSO said. Most agree...with the exception of Viacom, which has been trying to get Cablevision to remove its channels or expand the carriage arrangement.
Viacom however, has called licensing discussions "limited and unproductive."
Cablevision is sticking by its story. In a statement, it offered this: "Cablevisionís very popular Optimum App for iPad, which has been available to our customers for nearly three months, falls within our existing cable television licensing agreements with programmers Ė including Viacom. It is cable television service on the iPad, which functions as a television, and is delivered securely to our customers in the home on Cablevisionís own proprietary network."
Michelle Clancy | 24-06-2011